Rasheed’s world went dark last December when a rare condition caused him to suddenly go blind. This sudden and life-altering diagnosis meant Rasheed had to completely change the way he moved through the world. He shares his inspiring journey of how he’s navigated the last year with no sight.
September 5, 2022 was a normal day for 32-year-old Rasheed Manson. Working as a DeKalb County firefighter and EMT, Rasheed was driving the fire truck when he began to experience double vision. By December 16, 2022, he was completely blind.
Rasheed was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH), a rare condition where fluid builds up in the skull and puts pressure on the optic nerve.
Just one month after going blind, Rasheed visited CVI and began immersing himself in CVI’s programs and services. He received orientation and mobility training, where he learned how to use a cane and access public transportation. CVI staff also came to Rasheed’s house to help him safely re-learn everyday tasks. “I learned how to operate my stove, air fryer, and coffee maker. We practiced how to take out the trash, navigate to the mailbox, and safely go to the pool.”
Rasheed also took classes from CVI on using new and existing technologies to help him with his daily routines. “I’m feeling more independent since I’ve taken these classes. I’m more motivated to go do things on my own.”
Rasheed says his greatest success and motivation in life is being a father to two young daughters. At first, he was concerned with how much help he would need as a blind parent, but not anymore. “Being more independent has allowed me to do things with my kids, just us. Thanks to CVI I’m able to do things as a parent by myself. We’ve been to lots of places, like the Aquarium and College Football Hall of Fame.”
“I will be a great father with or without my vision.”
Leaning on his strong faith and sense of purpose, Rasheed says he uses his experience with vision loss to teach his daughters the value of resiliency. ”No matter what adversity comes your way, it can be overcome. This is no reason to fold or bend, or to not desire the life you’ve been given.”
Rasheed’s Next Opportunity
While Rasheed is adjusting how to accomplish his goals, he hasn’t changed them. Building on his undergraduate degree, he is working toward becoming a physical or occupational therapist to accomplish a goal he’s dreamed of since he was a teenager.
”I want to open a gym tailored to helping youth; showing them the proper way to weight train, box, and more.”
If you or a loved one are in need of our services, take Rasheed’s advice: “Anyone who is blind [or visually impaired] should definitely come to CVI and join the family.” Visit https://cviga.org/services/ to learn more or call us at 404-875-9011.